As a blogger you never know when you are going to write a post that just strikes a nerve with your readers, but it seems my last post was the one that did it. It seems that I am not the only mother who also blogs who is wondering where the hell is my place at the table? Granted I knew that but in the past day I have heard from many women, mostly mothers, many women of color but some not. One of the common traits that we all share is that in the larger dialogue of motherhood and mothering that exists online, in print, on the big screen and basically everywhere is that if you are not a white, heteronormative middle class mother, we are all left wondering where do we fit in.
Earlier today I had a great conversation online about that last post and someone I wasn’t familiar with but who had read the piece asked a very real and valid question, and I will attempt my best to paraphrase without losing the intent. If mothers of color for example form their own blog networks, publications, etc. aren’t we in essence creating an us versus them mentality? I am sure on the surface that might seem like it but the very short answer is no, not at all.
In seeking to see more of us, us defined as anyone who isn’t in the white, heteronormative, middle class box, we are seeking spaces where we can share and disseminate information. Spaces where we are not tokens, spaces where we don’t always have to explain ourselves, spaces that our sheer numbers will allow so-called brands and advertisers to know that hey, we are a viable group to work (after all we are just entitled as anyone else to earn money from our stories as anyone else) with and most of all a space where we are supported.
My eldest kiddo is 20, just finished his sophomore year of college and is home for the summer. Yesterday he made a comment that stood out to me, that brings home the need for spaces where as moms outside that so-called normal box we can have a space to mull ideas over. A few days ago I wrote in this space about a situation I am dealing with that involves a local mentally ill individual who seems to have decided I am a nice target to harass. I ended up going to the local police station and in short fashion was told that until he actually breaks the law, there is nothing they can do and they advised I steer clear of him. Duh! I have been doing that for 2 effin years. Anyway my son upon hearing the lackluster reply I received said, “Mom I told you the cops aren’t shit, being a white guy must be nice since this guy can stalk you and others and nothing is done yet I get stopped and carted home in the back of the cop car because they think I look like a suspect.” As a parent what do you say to that? He’s absolutely correct!
I share this tidbit because when you are raising children of color especially boys who will turn into teens and later men, the mindset you have is completely foreign to most white middle class heteronormative women. Remember Trayvon? We were all heartbroken over the senseless killing of Trayvon but for any mother raising a boy of color, Trayvon’s story cut to the core because we all know our boys could be the next Trayvon. It was more than a sad story, the shit was personal.
What about women who struggle financially? Women who don’t have partners, women who have a female partner, disabled Mamas? It’s easy to realize that many of us are missing from the larger narratives that currently exist when we are talking motherhood.
So it’s not about creating an us versus them scenario, it’s about taking charge and saying we don’t need someone to give us space but maybe we need to create one where we have space for all of us who currently don’t have a tribe or space.
There comes a time when it gets too tiring and too painful to wait to be recognized instead you gotta do you and create what you need now!